Lima: A helicopter carrying a dozen tourists, several of them reported to be South Korean or Austrian nationals, has gone missing in the Cusco region of southern
Peru, police said on Thursday.

"We have been informed about the disappearance of a helicopter in an area of jungle in the Cusco region and we have launched a search operation," a local police officer told agency.

The helicopter, run by Heli Cusco, disappeared in the Hualla Hualla region, and a "police patrol is headed in that direction to investigate a possible forced landing or an accident," a police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A police helicopter was also part of the search team, the official added.

The tourist helicopter had left the city of Mazuco, in the southeastern region of Madre de Dios, late on Wednesday headed for Cusco.

The presence of South Korean and Austrian tourists on the helicopter was reported by local media and state television.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists descend on the Cusco region every year to visit the archeological marvel Machu Picchu, a 15th century Incan city perched on a mountain high above the town of Aguas Caliente.


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